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Weekend Guide: 12 Things to Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

We took our first family vacation of the year to Orlando, Florida and guess what?! We didn't even go to a theme park.

I know you are wondering if it is possible to go to Orlando and not visit Epcot or Magic Kingdom. We are here to tell that there things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.

Surprisingly, Central Florida is one of the world's greatest travel destinations. If you only visit the area to see theme parks, then you are missing out. There are fun and exciting activities you can do to create a vacation you'll remember.

*Our family had a day and a half to explore this city, so we packed the guide below with back to back activities. To tailor your visit to Orlando, check out the guide for things to do in Orlando besides theme parks. **We included restaurants (vegan-friendly), entertainment, tours and beaches to help you get the most out of you vacation.

*We stayed at Reunion Resort in Kissimmee and commuted. We highly recommend this resort for your stay. The amenities are 5-star, and the service is fantastic

*Note: You will need a car or another method of transportation to get around.

1. Day 1 – Daytona Beach and Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

  • 6:30 am - Leave Reunion Resort in Kissimmee

  • 7:30 am - Breakfast: Interested in an old-school eatery serving up American & Greek classics? Head to Townhouse Restaurant for great food and fair prices. They have biscuits and gravy, omelets and more. Vegan options are available ($10)

  • 9:30 am – Activity 1: Drive to Daytona Beach to soak up the sun and swim. Schedule a surfing/paddle board session at Vast Oceans Surf and Sup School. Vast Oceans is the #1 beach location in Daytona. If you book a session, ask for Ryan Ragan to teach you. He was an Olympic Surfer and the best teacher! ($90)

  • 11:00 am – Activity 2: After your lesson drive 11 miles south on Peninsula Dr. to visit a quieter beach in Ponce Inlet. It is a local spot! You will see many surfers riding the waves.

  • 12:00 pm - Lunch: Head to Hidden Treasure and have lunch right on the beach in Ponce Inlet. Enjoy this tiki bar on the inlet for steaks, seafood & pasta. Vegan options are available ($15)

  • 1:30 pm – Activity 3: Next to Hidden Treasure, you’ll find The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse. This lighthouse is also a museum! The structure is 175 feet in height and is the tallest lighthouse in the state…one of the tallest in the United States! (Museum Admission $7)

  • 2:30 pm – Drive back to Reunion Resort in Kissimmee

  • 4:30 pm - Nap

  • 6:00 pm – Dinner: Enjoy Spanish inspired entrees at Café Tu Tu Tango in Orlando. We love this place because it has live entertainment and the artists paint as you eat. The white sangria is delicious. Vegan options are available ($15-20)

Total: $140- 145 tax and gas not included

2. Day 2 – Explore Downtown Orlando

  • 6:30 am - Leave Reunion Resort in Kissimmee

  • 7:30 am – Activity 1: Snap a picture at the “Greetings from Orlando Mural” (FREE).

  • 8:00 am - Activity 2: Visit the Pulse Nightclub Memorial off of S. Orange Ave. Pulse Nightclub is important in U.S. history because of the mass shooting and hostage situation that happened early Sunday, June 12, 2016. Forty-nine people were killed, making it the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history (FREE)

  • 8:30 am - Breakfast: Grab gourmet bagels at Einstein Bagels across the street from Pulse Nightclub Drive OR head to Valhalla Bakery for vegan donuts or brunch ($10)

  • 9:30 am - Activity 3: Head to College Park to do light shopping and see murals painted on walls. This distinct neighborhood within the city of Orlando, Florida, derives its name from the many streets within its bounds that were named for institutions of higher learning such as Princeton, Harvard, and Yale. My school, Vassar College, is listed!!! (FREE)

  • 11:00 am – Drive back to the Reunion Resort in Kissimmee

  • 1:00 pm – Activity 4: Go to the Resort Water Park for some fun in the sun

  • 7:00 pm – Dinner: Eat dinner at Midici The Neapolitan Pizza Company. The vibe here is hip and laid back. Vegan options are available ($15)

Total: $25 tax and gas not included

Thanks for reading this Weekend Guide to Orlando, Florida

What recommendations do you want to try? Let me know in the comments below!

Until Next Time,


“Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!”


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